“The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary.”
― Nassim Nicholas Taleb

A company I used to work at used to have this large campus with several sub-campuses referred to as Main Campus, A, B, C, etc.

It had everything there: a gym, basketball and volleyball courts, five cafeterias, etc.  Everything so that you can quickly do what you need and get back to work.

To get from one sub campus to another, you could either drive, or take one of the shuttle buses that ran between the sub campuses.  There was a shuttle every fifteen minutes.

Most of the drivers were Hispanic immigrants, and never foregoing the opportunity to practice my Spanish, I always made small chat with each of the drivers.

I especially enjoyed my chats with Jose, a man in his early 40s who was from Oaxaca, Mexico.

Unlike my politically correct coworkers, Jose was a breath of fresh air and we joked about many things from seducing Latin women to Mexican politics.

I liked Jose, but I despised the work he had to do.  Surely there was nothing more monotonous than driving a bus in a circle all day.  Doesn’t it make him dizzy?  At least being a taxi driver can be interesting because you meet all kinds of different people with their own stories, unlike a group of stiff employees who won’t even say ‘Hi’ or ‘Thank you’ for your service.

Jose’s job is not fun.  Every single day he rides to one campus, picks up employees, then rides to another, then another before returning to the first one.  Rinse and repeat.

What a shitty job.

Now my job is cool; I work on cool projects and get paid nicely.

One evening as I was driving home, I checked the time on the dashboard.  It was eight in the evening, and by the time I’d get home, I’d have an hour to relax before going to sleep to face another day consisting of an hour commute to work, followed by an hour commute home.  Every single day.

I drive there and back.  Jose drives there and back.

I don’t have much time for myself.  Jose doesn’t either.

I duly set my alarm clock and get out of bed promptly because someone tells me so.  Jose does the same.

Maybe Jose and I are more similar than different after all.

I probably make more than Jose, but that’s a moot point since I blow that money on clothes, going out, drinking and chasing pussy.  Shit that TV and magazines say I should do if I want to get laid to that hot blonde on the cover.

At the end we come out equal.

We’re both slaves exchanging the only valuable commodity we have (our time) for money.  Money that helps Jose barely survive and money that I’ll waste anyway.

Six months later Jose was replaced by another Hispanic driver.  This one was more serious and rarely in mood for chitchat.

More than a year later I finally got the courage the quit.  My commutes ended.  I shopped less.  I had more time for myself.

I missed not seeing Jose and learning some of his wisdom.  He showed me a different side of things I never noticed, things that only an outsider like himself would perceive.

Ironically, he’ll never know the true impact he had on me during our fifteen minute rides from one campus to another.  It was far beyond whatever he said with words.  But it worked, and I doubt he would’ve wanted it any other way.

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James Maverick

James Maverick

James Maverick used to work in a cubicle as a code monkey in Silicon Valley. Then, in 2007, he quit his job and a one-way ticket to Brazil. Ever since, he continued to travel, visiting over 85 countries and living in more than a dozen of them. He loved his location-independent lifestyle and has no plans to live in America.

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